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Andre Esterhuizen and Robert du Preez both suspended for tip tackles

For reference, here's the IRB (World Rugby) directive:
A directive was issued to all Unions and Match Officials in 2009 emphasizing the IRB’s zero-tolerance stance towards dangerous tackles and reiterating the following instructions for referees:

- The player is lifted and then forced or ‘speared’ into the ground (red card offence)

- The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player’s safety (red card offence)

- For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles a yellow card or penalty may be considered sufficient

So, the tackles...

1. Esterhuizen
I usually find the "tip tackle" over-policed, but I'm going to put my cock on the block here and say that meets the criteria of the first bullet point above, ie he forces the player into the ground. So technically that should have been a red card, therefore a ban seems appropriate. (Just don't tell PhillNZ I said that).

I won't comment on length of ban because they confuse the shit out of me. But I will say the scrum-half had bugger all effect on the tackle. Also the commentator says Esterhuizen has some previous for these tackles?

2. Du Preez
First point to make here is that is a shit pass to Mvovo by his team-mate....
The tackle looked quite spectacular in real-time, but judging from the replays I really don't think it looked too bad. Mvovo's left foot barely left the ground until the tackle was partially completed. So it only just fits into the "other types of dangerous lifting tackles" category. ie yellow or penalty may be considered sufficient. Jackson showed him yellow, so for my money it's been dealt with on the pitch and I find the ban - especially the extra weeks thrown in - toe be unnecessary and excessive.

1 Week, 6 Days ago

The Wraparound from Rugby HQ - Week 18

Does anyone else find that girl spitting blood out of her nose (0:35) strangely alluring??

Call me parochial, but that diving outside the touchline and still scoring a try was pioneered by Jonny Wilkinson CBE - back when the corner flag was still deemed to be in-touch.

2 Weeks, 8 Hours ago

Sonny Bill Williams issued warning for huge hit on Conrad Smith

I did. (

Thought SBW rolled with it pretty well. Admittedly he dropped the ball but the way Lee-lo lined him up and clattered into him, you felt as if Williams was going to get smashed. In fact Lee-lo kind of ran into an immovable object.

2 Weeks, 14 Hours ago

The Shortball highlights wrap from Round 18 of Super Rugby

Absolutely. And last time they played, England won by 40+ points. But this guy is a a real game-changer.

Agree with your analysis too. Past world cups suggest that it usually does favour a team to work hard in the pool stage, eg England in 2007. And the converse is also true with New Zealand arriving in the knockout stage completely undercooked.

2 Weeks, 23 Hours ago

The Shortball highlights wrap from Round 18 of Super Rugby

Some people have suggested that Nadolo will be significantly less effective behind a Fijian pack of forwards - as an England supporter I can only hope that is the case. But I don't see it. The man is incredible. If they can get the ball to him he scores. How many blokes did he beat in the featured try here? Three? Four? From the 22 with a tiny amount of space to move in. As if the power, size and finishing ability aren't enough, I can't think of any other player with more sublime teckers. He's like the bastard offspring of Jonah Lomu and Lionel Messi. Yes, I am worried.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Sonny Bill Williams issued warning for huge hit on Conrad Smith

I posted the right link - about 28 seconds in you get the tackle and a brief chat with Paul Williams - great quote "if that's the type of game they want us playing, I'm not sure I want to play any more". And you get the bonus of watching Alesana Tuilagi smashing the reporter into the pool, which I can watch repeatedly and still laugh at seventy-three views later.

We agree on rising/slipping/riding up being a load of bollocks. If it's high it's high. And that even it is high, a penalty is usually a sufficient sanction. Also, I don't think "he was crouching" is usually a legitimate excuse.

Where we differ on the two Williams tackles is you seem to think it's a small big difference, whereas I would suggest it is in fact a big small difference.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Sonny Bill Williams issued warning for huge hit on Conrad Smith

DrG, Get your point but think your examples are too extreme. There are high tackles and there are blatant clothes lines. (But I do enjoy watching the Tuilagi one for JDV's reaction).

I think the Sonny Bill one here sits in a similar category to the Paul Williams one in the 2011 World Cup- about 28 seconds into this video:

Paul W got a yellow for that, which I thought was incorrect. Penalty for both (no cards or "citing commissioner warning" whatever that means), in my opinion.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Touching Haka from Under 20's in honour of fallen hero Jerry Collins

A wonderful tribute and a spine-tingling haka.

Couple of other observations:
- #3's haircut is just awful
- 0:26 - I reckon this guy must be pretty popular with the ladies.

2 Weeks, 5 Days ago

Sergio Parisse brilliant inside flick sets up try for victorious Stade Francais

Dreadful commentators. Dear God.

Lovely bit of skill from Parisse. Also that's a rudely long pass for a prop to be throwing, especially if he's right-handed - looked a mile forward to me on the first (overhead) view, but flattish on the replays.

Call me a boring old bar steward but I enjoyed the muted celebration from Parisse almost as much as the pass itself. Old school, real rugby player.

2 Weeks, 6 Days ago

The Shortball highlights wrap from Round 17 of Super Rugby

David Pocock needs to get off this ridiculous rich vein of form before September. He is starting to give me the heeby-jeebies.

3 Weeks, 9 Hours ago